Citrus County by John Brandon

This is the first book in The Rumpus’ Book Club.  I guess I will be sharing my thoughts as I make my way through it.  The back blurb:

There shouldn’t be a Citrus County.  Teenage romance should be difficult, but not this difficult.  Boys like Toby should cause trouble but not this much.  The moon should glow gently over children safe in their beds.  Uncles in their rockers should be kind.  Teachers should guide and inspire.  Manatees should laze and palm trees sway and snakes keep to their shady spots under the azelea thickets.  The air shouldn’t smell like a swamp.  The stars should twinkle.  Shelby should be her own hero, the first hero of Citrus County.  She should rescue her sister from underground, rescue Toby from his life.  Her destiny should be a hero’s destiny.

This blurb does not excite me.  There is too much nature.  There is too much heroism.  There is too much sentimentality.  Which is why I am excited.  Given the types of books produced by McSweeney’s and the sensibilities of The Rumpus folk, I suspect the book will flip on all of my impressions of the blurb.  As if a blurb for Californication had been

The story of a writer whose taste of success ruined his ability to create.  His career plummets and his relationships tumble.  The show follows the widening gyre of his life in LA.

Something like that.   The book’s design is not appealing either.  The cover is only shades of green.  Trees are intimated all around and in the distance is a small greenhouse with a boy, darkened in green shadows, trying to peer inside.  This is most definitely not a book I’d pick up at a bookstore.  215 pages is not at all daunting.  The typeset renders the 215 to about 170 normally set pages.  The paper is odd though, thick and slick.  I worry about the ability of my pen to mark it up without smudging, can’t see the words for the smudges.  Something like that.

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